Skeel and Storkman Honored by US Sailing

Skeel and Storkman Honored by US Sailing

It’s that time of the year when US Sailing hands out awards and honors. This time around, two of our own PNW sailors received acknowledgment from the governing body. Here’s US Sailing’s announcement and the specifics on the community sailing work done by these two!

 

Community Sailing and National One-Design Award Winners
Announced by US Sailing

BRISTOL, R.I. (January 29, 2018) – US Sailing is proud to announce the 2017 Community Sailing and National One-Design Award winners for their contributions to the sport of sailing in the United States. To celebrate the accomplishments of these individuals and organizations responsible for advancing sailing forward in their respective areas of focus and within their communities, US Sailing will recognize them on Thursday, February 1, 2018 at the Awards Celebration to be held at the Sailing Leadership Forum in St. Pete Beach, Florida, hosted by the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.

US Sailing will issue a second announcement following the Awards Celebration for the award winners who will be recognized live at the awards celebration.

The following 2017 Community Sailing and One-Design Award winners are:

  • Andrew Alletag (Tewksbury, Mass.) of Community Boating, Inc. in Boston, Mass. received the Jim Kilroy Outstanding Outreach & Inclusion Award.
  • Erik Skeel (Woodinville, Wash.) of Sail Sand Point in Seattle, Wash. received the award for Excellence in Instruction.
  • Jamie Jones (Westerville, Ohio) of the Hoover Sailing Club received the award for Outstanding Organizational Leader.
  • Joan Storkman (Gig Harbor, Wash.) was named Volunteer of the Year for her ongoing dedication as a volunteer at Gig Harbor Junior Sail Program.
  • Wayzata Community Sailing Center (Wayzata, Minn.) received the award for More than Ten Years of Hallmark Performance for their continued commitment to community sailing.
  • Sail Nauticus (Norfolk, Va.) received the award for Creative Innovations in Programming.
  • Delavan Lake Yacht Club (Delavan, Wis.) received a the National One-Design Regatta Award for excellence in development, promotion and management of the year’s most outstanding one-design regatta.
  • Jon VanderMolen (Richland, Mich.) and Don Parfet (Richland, Mich.) received the National One-Design Creativity Award for their inaugural Vintage Gold Cup.
  • San Diego Yacht Club (Calif.) received the National One-Design Club Award recognizing administrative excellence, fleet growth, creative programming, regatta support and member contributions.

 

 

Erik Skeel (with Laura Smit) at the singlehanded college nationals.

Erik Skeel – Excellence in Instruction

Erik Skeel (Woodinville, Wash.) of Sail Sand Point in Seattle, Wash. has been recognized for his superb leadership and extraordinary instruction. Providing highly technical feedback to sailors, his greatest strength is his leadership in group settings.

As a sophomore member of the University of Washington Sailing Team, Skeel’s enthusiasm and knowledge, regardless of his role on the boat, has made a positive impact on his teammates. As a summer camp instructor, he shares his love of sailing and amicable personality with everyone around him.

He is a truly remarkable instructor and valued member of Sail Sand Point.

Joan Storkman – Volunteer of the Year

Joan Storkman (Gig Harbor, Wash.) is a tireless volunteer with the Gig Harbor Junior Sail Program in Washington. She has been there since its inception and, in less than 10 years, this program has grown from a very small all-volunteer operation, to a fully-fledged program employing seasonal staff, while operating eight months a year. This year, the Gig Harbor Yacht Club (GHYC) Junior Sail “Learn to Sail” summer program recorded its highest enrollment ever, with 160 local youth participating in their weekly sailing camps, thanks to Storkman’s hard work.

She recruited and leads the 12-member Board of Directors, and works countless hours to ensure that the GHYC Junior Sail a well-run, organized and high-morale community asset.

Storkman’s high-energy leadership, attention to detail, as well as her endless team motivation and expressions of gratitude to all the volunteers and instructors has positioned the GHYC Junior Sail to be a successful program with a fantastic future.

Wet Wednesday – Olympic Classes Training

Wet Wednesday – Olympic Classes Training

World Cup Series Miami is happening this week, and it’s where all the Olympic hopefuls congregate to start racking up wins and gaining experience in all the relevant classes. I’ve gathered some training videos – a couple of them VERY short clips – of PNW women that are there competing. Looks challenging for 4 seconds. Imagine a whole day of racing. First up is Kate Shaner and Charlotte Mack doing some heavy air training in her 49erFX. Then comes a video of Helena Scutt (with skipper Bora Gulari) in a polished pr video sailing a Nacra 19 on foils. Finally, we have a few seconds of Hanne Weaver working the waves in her Laser Radial in some big wind. I’m hoping to get some first-hand accounts of how the series is going. And for the young sailors at home, here are some hometown heroes to root for and learn from!

Yesterday was the first day of racing, and I posted a little report earlier today.

 

Young Sailor of the Year is Uplifting Story

It’s not a Northwest story, or even a U.S. story, but I wish it were. The British-based Yachting Journalists Association just named its Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year Awards. Alex Thompson was named Yachtsman of the Year, and anyone who follows singlehanded round the world racing or pays attention to Hugo Boss advertising, is already familiar with the charismatic British sailor.

Lesser known is Montel Fagan-Jordan, Young Sailor of the Year. His story is truly impressive, and I hope that someday I get the opportunity to meet and interview him. He represents the Grieg City Academy, where 50 different “first languages” are spoken and 70% are considered “disadvantaged.” Fagan-Jordan gave around 50 talks to raise money for the purchase and outfitting of the old Frers-designed Scaramouche. He and his shipmates learned to sail that old IOR beast, and did it well enough to finish in the top half of the Fastnet Race. Along the way they had help from Whitbread Round the World Race veteran Lawrie Smith and the local marine industry pitched in with equipment. But Fagan-Jordan was the driving force.

 

Yachting Monthly (from which I borrowed some of these photos) did an excellent piece on Fagan-Jordan and the Grieg City Academy effort. If you want an uplifting story, read on. At this time particularly, when the U.S. president (and ostensibly 1/3rd of the country) revels in insulting the underprivileged in word and deed and insulating wealthy Americans from the poor, it’s good to see that in some parts of the world individuals like Fagan-Jordan can achieve great things in something like sailing, and that their communities are happy to rally around them. 

Following is the Yachting Journalist Association press release.

YJA Young Sailor of the Year, 2017

The 2017 YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award goes to 17-year-old Montel Fagan-Jordan from Tottenham, London in recognition of his leadership in first raising the money to restore the 1980s classic American Admiral’s Cup yacht Scaramouche, then leading a crew of fellow students from the Greig Academy in Tottenham to compete in last year’s 605 mile Fastnet Race.

Nominated by his school teacher, Jon Holt says of Montel: “This was unique yachting project in which a multi-cultural crew spent three years undertaking more than 50 fund-raising talks to buy and restore the famous Gérman Frers designed yacht.  Montel is able to helm almost any yacht. Not only was he the driving force behind Scaramouche — raising most of the money himself, but then developed as the helmsman, after receiving tuition from David Beford and Lawrie Smith. In 2017 he entered the Etchells 22 class Gertrude Cup and finished 4th overall before steering the Lloyds X55 class yacht Lutine during Cowes Week.  He steered Scaramouche for most of the Fastnet Race.

Given that Scaramaouche is an old yacht, which rolls madly, his ability to hold a course for four hours in the dark, surfing down wind without broaching was amazing. Scaramouche may have finished 142 out of 368, but as a school team in an old yacht, they more than proved their point.”

 

 

Growing the Middle – Youth Sailing in the Pacific Northwest

Growing the Middle – Youth Sailing in the Pacific Northwest

Andrew Nelson is one of many people truly committed to raising the level of youth sailing in the Pacific Northwest. This article first appeared on the US Sailing website, but I want to make sure the PNW sailing community at large is in touch with the youth programs in the area. It’s vibrant. Most importantly, it’s fun for the kids and provides the life-lessons we all value so much. And, by the way, the sailors these efforts are creating are having great success on the race course as well.

If you’re involved with an organization promoting youth sailing in the area, send any and all materials, reports etc. and I’ll help get the word out. Parents are planning their kids’ summer activities, and sailing should certainly be on the list!

Thanks to Andrew for all he does, and allowing us to share this piece.

 

By Andrew Nelson

In fall of 2014, I began managing the Northwest Youth Racing Circuit, which is a collection of seven summer regattas in Washington and Oregon. At that time, the NWYRC had just finished another underwhelming year. Many regattas were sparsely attended and fleet sizes were routinely in the single digits. This was true even among popular youth classes like the Opti.

It had gotten to the point that only two or three teams were regularly participating in the series. Before this decline, the NWYRC had produced talented sailors like U.S. Olympian Helena Scutt and U.S. Singlehanded Champions Hanne Weaver and Derick Vranizan, to name a few. After leaving our circuit, these sailors all went on to have success at the national and international level, but not without first doing time in the back half of their local fleet.

Since 2014, we’ve nearly doubled NWYRC regatta attendance. Our total size this summer was over 620 sailors, with 145 sailors participating in our summer series finale. That regatta included a talented 38 boat Laser Radial fleet, which had at least a dozen skippers who were capable of winning a race. Among those racing regularly in that fleet were three top-ten finishers from the Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championships, including Leiter Cup winner Abbie Carlson. There’s still plenty of work to do in our region, but I believe this turnaround was at least partly attributable to the following strategies.

Grow the Middle

If we really want to push the top sailors, we need to focus our efforts on coaching those mid-fleeters and getting them out to regattas regularly. It’s easy to get fixated on only working with the top sailors, but what those high-performers really need are more boats challenging them on the start line and making them pay for their mistakes on the race course. If we can elevate the caliber of the average sailor, then these local regattas will start to take on that “big regatta” feel. This better prepares our top sailors for success at the national level.

For this reason, I spend most of my time at regattas working with those mid-fleeters who come from smaller teams or who might not have a coach at all. It’s also very rewarding because their improvement is more rapid and more easily observable. These mid-fleeters improve a ton simply by sailing against those top skippers, so keeping the best sailors engaged with your local series is also part of the equation.

Remember to Have Fun

This is the essence of what sailboat racing is all about, right? Sure, we want races to be well-run and safe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Having an ice cream sundae bar during awards, giving out regatta pajamas instead of regatta t-shirts, providing on site camping, and letting competitors request a song for the regatta playlist (and then playing it on the water) are all examples of how hosts keep sailors (and parents) coming back.

Kids are pretty good at having fun and making friends. As adults, we sometimes need a reminder of what youth sports are all about. We’ve had exceptional hosts and volunteers at all of our regattas. A good host or volunteer understands the importance of a positive and welcoming regatta culture; a culture that allows for fun.

Work Together

One thing I’m very proud of is our region’s spirit of cooperation. We work hard to keep regatta costs down, share coaches and coach boats, and provide charters boats when at all possible. This is especially true for development fleets like Opti Green Fleet where hosts waived the charter fee and set the entry price at $20. For those novice racers, it’s literally as easy as showing up to the regatta with your PFD.

In the FJ fleet, there’s lots of sharing of sailors and boats in an effort to get as many on the water as possible. This all takes plenty of coordination between coaches, parents, and hosts, but with 300 miles between our two furthest regatta venues we have to work together. There’s no alternative. A self-serving attitude doesn’t help our sport, and it certainly won’t help increase participation or competitiveness.

About the Author:

Andrew Nelson

Youth Sailing Director
The Sailing Foundation
www.nwyouthsailing.org

 

Bio from the Sailing Foundation website: 

Andrew has spent most of his life in the Northwest and on the water. He grew up racing locally on a Cal 40 with his dad and then got into dinghy sailing during his high school and college years. A career in sailing wasn’t on his radar when he graduated with an education endorsement from Western Washington University, but he knew he wanted to work with youth. After spending a couple of summers coaching in Southern California, he was hired as the Junior Sailing Director at Encinal Yacht Club in the Bay Area. Being a junior sailing director allowed him to combine his passion of sailing and working with youth. It also allowed him to be part of a very successful model, where youth and high school sailing is highly organized and competitive.

 

Go to the Antarctic via Bellingham Tonight

Go to the Antarctic via Bellingham Tonight

Mike Powell, a professional photographer and damn fine big and small boat sailor, will be presenting UHURU 65 Degrees South or How I Learnt to Sail tonight at the Bellingham Yacht Club. It’s his tale of an epic cruise to the Antarctic. Powell’s also the BYC Youth Fleet Captain and suggests a $5 donation to the program. Mike is very entertaining, and an extremely talented photographer, so it would be a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. Here’s a description of the program:

In 2011 Mike Powell a landlubber with a camera went aboard his brothers boat UHURU, an Oyster 62, for two months and headed South from the Falkland Islands, across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic peninsula, around the Horn and up into Chilean Patagonia. During the trip the crew used all their toys, great sailing, scuba, ice climbing up mountains, skiing down them and fly fishing in Chile via horseback

This is the story that has been shown multiple times before, to multiple sailors and yacht clubs both in the USA and UK and featured on the cover of UK’s Yachting Magazine. If you missed it last time please come and watch it this time or come again.

Bellingham Yacht Club, Dec. 13th at 6.30pm. Suggested $5 donation at the door goes towards local youth sailing.

Youth Movement at Turkey Bowl

Youth Movement at Turkey Bowl
Laser Radials lining up for a start on Saturday. Matt Wood photo.

Corinthian YC’s Turkey Bowl doesn’t always attract the biggest fleets (something about sailing in November), but last weekend, thanks to the efforts of kids, coaches and parents, it was a remarkably well attended regatta. Nearly 60 boats were entered including 505s, Vanguard 15s, RS Aeros, Lasers, Laser Radials and Optimists.

Mats Elf won the closely contested 505 class, while Dieter Creitz won the Optis with straight bullets and Nate Walgren won the 4-boat Vanguard 15 fleet.

Lasers setting up for a start Sunday.

The singlehanded fleets each had a strong showing with 14 Aeros, 9 Laser standard rigs and 13 Laser Radials. Dan Falk, winner in the Aero class, “couldn’t remember having that much fun” as the last heavy air duel against Carl Buchan. They finished a foot apart, with the nod going to Buchan. Oregon’s Doug Seeman made his trip worthwhile, winning the Laser standard rig on the strength of a dominating performance on the light air first day. In the Radial class, it was Owen Timm taking the win over Abbie Carlson and Kit Stohl. The Radial class is really coming into its own and is a great place for younger and smaller sailors to compete at a high level

Results here. 

One of the groups of young sailors came from the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center, a City of Seattle racing program based on Lake Washington and now headed up by Kaitlyn Van Nostrand. It would be great to have a city-based program turning up at regattas! Here’s Kaitlyn’s report from the weekend:

Mt. Baker Youth Sailing Team culminated its first fall practice series by attending CYC’s annual Turkey Bowl with 4 lasers and 2 Opti’s. Three of our novice sailors had never raced on the Sound before and for one of our Opti sailors, it was her breakout regatta! They were tough kids, considering most juniors start and stop when the weather is warm and dry.  

With some nervous laughs, the junior sailors joined the 505’s, RS Aero’s, Lasers, Radials and Optis for 6 great races on Saturday. Our team learned about the current, being scared then excited about the waves, swell and lots of ah ha moments when we talked about how the current would affect the mark rounds, and connecting the theory to practice when the current did just that. For two of our Radial sailors, their goal was to finish the races. Finish they did and by the end of the day, the race committee was cheering them on as they crossed the line!  For the other two second year Laser sailors, it was to see their great improvement that all the sailing they did this fall paid off. As they were able to finish closer to the fleet of great year around juniors sailors from SYC’s race team! Our Opti sailors learned how to stay out of the way of 505’s screaming past and got a few helloss from our laser master’s friends! After over 5 hours on the water and some warm chili, our sailors were falling asleep at the Clubhouse. Needless to say, they had a good night sleep! 

The forecast was wild for Sunday, but we did manage to get two great races off in the funny west/south west direction. Then the real fun began, the swells started getting larger before the big gusts came just as the second laser race was finishing. Race committee abandoned racing for the junior classes and the parade of laser radials and opti’s made their way back to the docks. It was a wild ride in huge gusts and big swell for our lake sailors! They were pleased enough to be done early after the long day Saturday. We washed our boats, packed up and headed back to Mt. Baker. Lots of smiles, lots of excellent experience gained and excited to start up again in the Spring.

If any Junior Sailors are interested in joining our youth sailing team at Mt. Baker, we will be starting Laser and Opti practice again on the weekends in April 2018. Sailors must know how to sail, but do not need racing experience. All our boats are owned by Mt. Baker Rowing & Sailing Center and we have scholarships available. We practice April to November! Email Coach Kaitlyn at mtbakersailingteam@gmail.com to find out more. 

Thanks, Kaitlyn, and I’ll second her call for more sailors. Whether it’s Mount Baker, Sail Sandpoint, CYC, SYC, high schoolers or any of the other great junior programs around, competitive sailing is definitely on the upswing in the Northwest. There are plenty of great coaches, parents and other sailors to help and keep things safe.

Have a great Thanksgiving all!

RTC Youth Sailing Challenge – Final Leg Starts Now!

RTC Youth Sailing Challenge – Final Leg Starts Now!

The Round the County Race was, in my opinion, already the best big boat race in the Northwest. Race organizers just made it even better. As part of this year’s race, there’s a fundraising program (and competition!) to benefit junior sailing in the region.

Longtime racer Bob Brunius is the driver behind the Youth Sailing Challenge. He’s seen what some support can do for junior sailing. As much as the Orcas Island YC would like to support youth sailing, there really needed to be a separate entity capable of receiving 501c3 tax deductible donations to provide meaningful support to youth sailing. “In our region we set up Sail Orcas, and were able to hired the very talented coach Hannah Tuson-Turner part time. That has really helped our program. Orcas’ girl’s team went to the championship in California and our team racing group went to the nationals. It’s really building, as is youth sailing in the Northwest.”

So, what about the Youth Challenge? Well, if you go to this link, you’ll find a short description, a link to donate (choosing the specific program – if any – to which you want to contribute and choosing under which boat you want to contribute). There’s also a link to “Challenge Standings.” Challenge Standings? Hey, why not make a race of it. It’s kinda like boats meeting on the water…..

Currently Wild Rumpus is leading, followed by Crazy Salsa and Brunius’ Time Bandit. Hey, a lot can change on the final leg of a race, and the gun doesn’t sound on this challenge until Sunday night at 2000 hrs.

Here’s the link to the program. Donate!

Kids LOVE Lasers

So, while you’re prepping for, sailing in or putting the boat to bed from RTC, think about the exciting and enthusiastic youth sailing that is emerging all over this region. They’re the RTC sailors of the future, Olympic representatives etc. If you haven’t seen the high school sailing scene lately, you’re missing out. It’s really exciting. Also, more funds means more access for a lot of young sailors who might not have the chance otherwise.

And don’t forget, Bruce Hedrick is going to come up with delivery and race weather outlooks for RTC over the next two days. Check back often.

Gridley and Timms Win NWISA Singlehanded Championships

Gridley and Timms Win NWISA Singlehanded Championships

Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association Singlehanded Championships

Photo by Jim Skeel

It wasn’t the breeziest of regattas, but the high school singlehanded championships were sailed over the weekend off Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. The winners were Grant Gridley in the Radial class and Owen Timms in the full rig class. University sailors got their own Radial and full rig fleets. Congratulations to all who participated. BTW, I’m pleased to report that the Seattle Laser Fleet provided a number of boats in support of this event.

Here’s the report from the NWISA:

Saturday, September 23:

Competitors from around the Northwest were greeted by a light southerly on Saturday morning. This proved to be quite stable and peaked around 8 knots by noon. The breeze then began to fade, and by 3pm it had shut off completely. We were fortunate to complete 6 radial and 7 full rig races in that time, alternating between double lap windward/leewards and trapezoid courses. The 20 boat Laser Radial fleet especially was very competitive. This resulted in at least 8 general recalls (we lost count) and most of the later starts under I-flag.

Sunday, September 24:

The forecast for Sunday looked bleak, and after a shore postponement competitors left the dock at 11am to try racing in a fragile northerly. The breeze was just strong enough to start a Radial race, and it maintained a 3-4 knot average until most competitors had finished. After it fizzled out, competitors waited around on the water for another hour and a half before the Race Committee called racing for the day. NWISA is excited to send representatives Owen Timms and Per Black in the Full Rig and Grant Gridley and Abbie Carlson in the Laser Radial to St. Petersburg, FL later this fall. They will do a terrific job representing our conference. Big thanks to all the volunteers and race officials this weekend. The regatta was well run and made the most of our limited racing windows.

More Photos by Jim Skeel. Click to enlarge.

US Sailing just sent out their Youth Sailing newsletter. Take a look.

Yanez Repeats at the 2017 Dale Jepsen One Design Regatta in Bellingham

Yanez Repeats at the 2017 Dale Jepsen One Design Regatta in Bellingham

It was a small but mighty fleet of Lasers at Bellingham Yacht Club’s Dale Jepsen One Design regatta this year. Jorge Yanez, the winner of the DJOD last year and the winner of the Laser Radial Masters Nationals event in the Gorge this year was there; the winner and runner up from 2015, Sascha Smutny and Doug Honey were there; and Perham Black, fresh off his win at the Bellingham Youth Regatta was there. The top of the 9-boat fleet was so evenly matched that places changed at nearly every mark rounding.

This is a photo from the Laser fleet in a previous Dale Jepsen Regatta.

Mike Johnson lead the regatta after two races with a first and a third for four points, followed closely by Yanex and Black with five points each. Yanez jumped out after that with two firsts in races 3 and 4, establishing a five point lead on Black. Undeterred, Black went hard right on the last beat of the last race, jumping past several boats and winning the race. Yanez finished 4th to save the regatta win by one point.  If he had been 5th, the tie breaker would have gone to Black.  

Third place went to Mike Johnson with only 4 points separating third through sixth places. It is for this kind of tight racing, often overlapped with other boats at every mark rounding and multiple boats arriving at the finish together, that we keep showing up. There were no protests, no starting line abuses, and only a few capsizes. Racers compared their ideas after each race were clearly glad to be lucky enough to be having fun among friends.  

Results here.

Regatta chair Mike Poulos, race officer Jonathan Knowles and their terrific volunteers, did a great job under difficult circumstances to choreograph five well-run and fair races. All races occurred on Sunday due to no wind on Saturday. Saturday had been the regatta organizer’s nightmare. Just enough wind to leave shore that went flat at the first warning, and then came back up 10 minutes after all boats got back to the parking lot. So on Sunday, everyone was elated to see a sunny 8 to 12 knot southeasterly materialize from the glassy bay – less than an hour before the first warning. The breeze held nicely right up through the last race and then died.  

It is interesting to note that only three participants at the event this year were also at the event last year.  Some could say we lost the others but the positive perspective says we gained several new people. Let’s build on that momentum and have some great events this fall. We could have a start at Corinthian’s PSSC (October 7-8) and Turkey Bowl (November 18-19). Would it be crazy to imagine 15 Laser’s on the starting line?

–Jay Leon

Ed. Note: I’d love to post something on the FJ and 505 fleets, so if anyone wants to share some words or photos, send them along and I’ll get them in. Also, thanks to Jay for the Laser report. No, indeed, 15 Lasers is not too many to expect for for PSSC and Turkey Bowl, especially if the great young sailors show up. Maybe both full rig and Radial fleets? Note this video from the Junior Olympic Regatta.

Junior Olympics Hosted by SYC

Junior Olympics Hosted by SYC

Junior sailing is certainly alive and well in the Pacific Northwest. This video from the Junior Olympics sailed last month and hosted by SYC was just made available:

NW Junior Olympics 2017 from Matau Media on Vimeo.

 

SYC Coach Cameron Hoard Reports: Seattle Yacht Club hosted the 2017 North West Jr Olympic Regatta. The racing took place August 26-27, on Shilshole Bay. This year the event had 93 boats with 112 Jr sailors competing for gold in one of the largest Junior regattas in the NW. Two days of perfect sailing, with 8 races sailed in 8-15 conditions on Puget Sound, plus an excellent Salmon dinner on Saturday, and fun party with raffle prizes and piñatas!

I’ll echo what SYC sailing director Brian Ledbetter has said, that much of the success of junior sailing in the area can be attributed to Andrew Nelson of The Sailing Foundation.

It’s worth noting that the tremendous turnout and enthusiasm was for traditional classes: FJs, Vanguard 15s, Laser Radials and lots of Optimists. Kids turn out in droves and have plenty of fun in those “old” designs!

Results.